Kitchen Tips: How to clean your kumkum (electric kettle)

By | November 8, 2012

Before I got married, a friend gave me an all-important piece of advice. Not about maintaining good communication, not about giving to your spouse, not about continuing to go out on dates…

It was about how to clean a kumkum. (Translation: electric kettle — here in Israel, we call this thing a kumkum, and it’s feeling really pompous to call it anything but.)

I {heart}, {heart}, {heart} my kumkum. Why boil water on the stove when you can do it in, like, 60 seconds in the kumkum? Major major time-saver.

But like anything else, it gets dirty. See that stuff on the bottom? That’s your cue that it’s time for a cleaning.

And all you need is some of this magical stuff. They sell it next to the spices in our grocery.

Yeah, that’s right, it’s even kosher for Pesach! Thanks, Badatz.

So you put some water up to boil with a spoonful or two of citric acid. Once it’s done, you pour it out, boil water once more to flush out any remaining acid bits, and presto:

Your kumkum is squeaky clean once again.

How often you need to clean the thing will depend on how often you use it. I use ours for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g and I generally only have to clean it once a week. Sometimes maybe a bit more often, every five days? Something like that.

But does everyone already know about this? Please, someone make my day and tell me you can’t believe you never knew how easy it was to clean your kettle…

One year ago: White lasagna with mushrooms


M on November 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm.

Oooh! Me, me! *I* never knew about this! I hear that you need to use 1:1 ratio of water: vinegar, which is like half a bottle of vinegar, which is why my kumkum hasn’t been cleaned since ….oh, Nisan or so. So thanks!

(Although I did know that running citric acid through your washing machine is supposed to prevent mineral buildup. Don’t ask me why I never made the connection.)


Rena on November 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm.

Oh i’m going to try that! Ive heard vinegar helps and ive done it before. It does work, but not perfectly, plus you need to use a lot of vinegar. I plan on trying this out asap!! Thanks!


Malka on November 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm.

Pretty clever , I usually squeeze a few lemons and boil it.


johanna on November 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm.

lemon is citric acid–cheaper, organic and kosher :)
vinegar also works, but is weaker if diluted..
these can be used for cleaning any kettle or appliance, or sink :)
soaking/letting them sit for a few hours helps too-


Yiska Ben Avraham on November 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm.

I always wondered what people used that for. Thank you!


elana on November 11, 2012 at 12:23 am.

hooray-no more white piecey things!


Victoria (Itsy Bitsy Balebusta) on November 11, 2012 at 6:31 am.

I never really figured out how to clean that! This is such a useful and helpful tip! (Is it weird that I want to go and wash my kettle out right now?!) Thanks so much!


Devora on November 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm.

I just use straight vinegar in. Poor some in, go to work, come home and rinse!


Rena on November 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm.

i did this yesterday and it worked amazingly!!!!! thanks!


Abigail on January 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Citric Acid is my new best friend. Thanks Tali for this great tip!


Nava on May 13, 2014 at 6:45 am.

I had no idea! I’ve always used vinegar and this seems much easier!! Thank you!


FS on April 26, 2015 at 8:54 pm.

I can’t believe I never knew how easy it was to clean my kumkum!!


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